- Matt Fortuna, ESPN Staff Writer
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The "GameDay" trucks and the chance to finally knock off a rival are gone, and so Brian Kelly now faces the opposite problem of last week's: With far less "noise," as he called it, the third-year Notre Dame coach must have his team as focused for BYU this week as it was for Stanford last week and surely will be for Oklahoma next week.
BYU's defensive humbling against what is now a top-10 team has the Cougars eyeing an upset this weekend, with the Irish stuck in the middle of what amounts to a classic "trap" game.
"It's college football each and every week," Kelly said. "Look to the North Carolina State/Florida State game; go to West Virginia vs. Texas Tech. Why does that happen? Well, you forget how you got here. They are trap games if you forget how to go to work and do those things. We've already talked about it with our team, and we'll make sure that we do everything to prepare the right way."
Fall break doesn't make matters easier, either, as the football players are among the few remaining students on campus for a week that will leave them with plenty of free time outside of practice.
Kelly won't change the routine.
"I think it's a trap game each week if you think that you can take a breather," he said. "If you think you can go: 'Ah, I can take a breather now, it's mid‑semester break.'
"We are screwing things down tighter. If that locker room is a mess, there's going to be a long practice today and they know that. If the game room looks like a pigsty, it's going to be a long practice today.
"My point is this: I think they are all trap games, every single one of them, if you take a breather. But if you just stay on the course, continue to do what you're doing, we'll be fine."
One big similarity to last week is the defense they will be facing. Like the Cardinal, the Cougars strung together a masterful early-season performance, surrendering less than 9 points per game, before unraveling in a 42-24 loss to Oregon State.
"In reviewing the film, it was all about our execution, our precision, our concentration," BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall said. "The plays were defendable. They executed their plays at a higher level, but we were not sharp in the secondary. Concentration. Precision. And, really, execution. There was maybe a little overconfidence, defensively, from all the accolades. I think there was a little edge that was missing."
Its pride wounded, the nation's No. 7 scoring defense is optimistic about a rebound in a venue unlike any it has seen.
"It’s cool. I don’t really get sucked into the hype of it all," linebacker Spencer Hadley said. "It’ll be fun to go to South Bend and play there. Fans get to approach it that way but as players we don’t really get to look at it like that.
"It’s a business trip. It’s not like we’re going to Disneyland. We’re going to play a football game and we’re preparing as such. As far as it being historic, I don’t get into it so much."